HP Launches New ‘Smart Tank’ Refillable Inkjets for U.S. Market

HP Smart Tank Plus 551 with replacement ink bottles.

Last month, HP Inc. brought its refillable ink-tank printers to the United States, with U.S. Staples locations selling two new HP ink-tank inkjet printers, the HP Smart Tank Plus 551 ($399.99) and Smart Tank Plus 651 ($449.99 MSRP).

HP joins competitors Epson and Canon, which have both entered the U.S. market for refillable ink-tank printers – otherwise known as continuous ink supply system (CISS) printers. With refillable ink-tank printers, the printers use bottles full of liquid ink, not ink cartridges. When ink runs low, the user opens the ink reservoir, and refills it with the appropriate color ink bottle.

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 ($399.99 MSRP) is an All-in-One with print, scan, copy and WiFi wireless connectivity, and is rated at up to 11 (black)/5 (color) ppm. HP says it includes up to two years worth of ink – or approximately 8,000 color pages or 6,000 black pages. It includes: one (dye-based) HP 32XL 135-ml Black Original Ink Bottle ($16.99), and three pigment-based color ink bottles: HP 31 70-ml Cyan Original Ink Bottle; HP 31 70-ml Magenta Original Ink Bottle; and HP 31 70-ml Yellow Original Ink Bottle. Each of the three color ink bottles lists at $14.99. Cost per page for black or color is about 1 cent.

The Smart Tank Plus 651 is the same as the Smart Tank Plus 551, but adds a 35-page automatic document feeder (ADF).

For mobile connectivity, with the HP Smart App, users can print from or scan to their accounts at Dropbox, Google Drive, email, etc. There’s also HP ePrint, and support for Apple AirPrint and Mopria.

Visit HP here for more information and complete specifications on the Smart Tank Plus 551.

Our Take

As with other high-capacity refillable ink-tank printers, the two new HP models are priced significantly more – $399.99 and $449.99 – than traditional ink-cartridge models in this segment – most of which can be had for well under $100. The advantage is that over the long term, users will save a lot more on ink costs; the more they  print, the more they’ll save. But if users have very low print volumes, neither printer makes sense economically (we’d recommend they have at least 500-print per month print volume). Users with low print volumes would be better off with a lower-priced inkjet and then sign up for HP’s Instant Ink program.

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